Companies optimistic about Northeast Ohio's manufacturing future, survey finds

Most manufacturers in Northeast Ohio are optimistic about what the future holds for them in the next year, studies show.

MAGNET recently partnered with Kent State University, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America to conduct a regional survey that addresses the priorities and concerns of local manufacturers of all sizes.

Nearly 300 companies responded, spanning various industries and geographic locations. Of those manufacturers, 74 percent comprised C-level executives and general managers, with 89 percent of all respondents representing small and mid-size companies (businesses up to 250 employees).

These responses indicated the following:

Manufacturers remain confident about their sector.
57 percent indicated they anticipate some economic expansion, and over 50 percent expect their companies to grow over the next 12 months. Small and mid-size manufacturers with 26 to 250 employees were most optimistic, roughly expecting 80 percent growth. Conversely, 41 percent said they expect a flat economy, while another 3 percent are bracing themselves for a recession.

Small manufacturers expect revenue growth, while larger companies predict additional capital expenditures.
42 percent of small manufacturers surveyed expect more than 10 percent revenue growth (compared to just 14 percent of larger companies); however, 57 percent of mid-size and 48 percent of large manufacturers expect an increase in capital expenditures.

While many companies have embraced new technology, many have neglected 3D printing.
While 57 percent of regional companies are using some kind of automation (mostly Internet of Things technology and connected machines), only 15 percent of small and mid-sized manufacturers are taking advantage of additive manufacturing.

Most manufacturers in Northeast Ohio are facing similar challenges.
Respondents indicated they were “very concerned” about the following:
– Rising cost of healthcare (62 percent)
– Attracting and retaining qualified workers (65 percent)
– Government policies and regulations (56 percent)

Over 83 percent also reported it was “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to attract qualified candidates for existing vacancies, with their biggest challenge cited as lack of skills, education, and/or interest.

Salaries in manufacturing have increased and will continue to rise.
69 percent say their wages have risen over the last two years, while 77 percent indicate they expect the numbers to keep climbing. However, number of employees has roughly stayed the same, according to nearly half of respondents.

Larger companies struggle the most with turnover.
While 74 percent of smaller companies reported turnover under 5 percent, larger manufacturers over 250 employees reported rates of 10 percent or higher.

Small and mid-size companies are more open to using consultants.
Approximately 70 percent of companies under 250 employees reported using between one and five types of consulting in the past for lean manufacturing, HR, information technology, and other services. The three most popular topics included sales and marketing (54 percent), quality management and ISO systems (53 percent), and IT/ERP systems (49 percent). In the future, small and mid-size manufacturers are looking for strategic growth planning, lean/operations improvement, and sales and marketing services.

To learn more about this study and what NEO manufacturers are looking for, download our 2017 NEO Economic Outlook presentation!

Want to know how MAGNET consultants can help you grow? Set up an appointment with our talented Growth Advisory Team by calling Linda Barita at 216.391.7766 or email

Posted by Liz Fox in News

Most Recent

Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations

December 13, 2017 by Gwido Dlugopolsky

One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes.  The order may change but the top cited standards typically don’t change. Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations: 501 - Fall Protection 1200 - Hazard Communication 451 - Scaffolding 134 - Respiratory Protection 147 - Lockout/Tagout 178 - Powered Industrial Trucks 1053 - Ladders 305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods 212 - Machine Guarding 303 - Electrical, General Requirements Three of the 10 sited standards are directed at the construction standard (1926) while other fall within the general industry (1910).  It should be noted however that the general industry standard also has fall protection guidelines. Year after year, inspectors see the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured. By understanding these regulations you can improve your safety program and prevent injuries. Give me a call if you have any compliance doubts, or want to review OHSA regulations. Gwido Dlugopolsky at 216-391-7766 or

Complete ANY Changeover in 10 Minutes or LESS

December 11, 2017 by Gwido Dlugopolsky

Why does it take a NASCAR pit crew only 15 seconds to change four car tires when it takes people like you and me minutes? The answer is simple SMED. Single Minute Exchange of Dies, or SMED, is a process for reducing the time it takes to do equipment changeovers. Using the principles of SMED you should be able to perform any changeover in your facility in under 10 minutes! The SMED process is simple – convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external”, meaning they are done while your equipment is still RUNNING, while simplifying and streamlining the remaining steps. SMED is broken down into the following 3 Steps: Separate Convert Streamline We found this article to be very helping in explaining the SMED process in more detail: LEAN PRODUCTION - SMED           A good first step to achieve this level of SMED efficiency would be to run a kaizen event at your facility to standardize (5S) your tools and supplies. Doing this alone will help you achieve 40% to 50% greater efficiency. Once the “low hanging fruit” is gone, you can still reduce setup times another 20% by practicing more advanced SMED principles.

Coffee is STILL for Closers: 3 Things Needed to Close Any Sale

December 07, 2017 by Sam Wasylyshyn

The secret to closing any sale is to reduce uncertainty in the buyer and replace it with confidence in YOU, your PRODUCT/SERVICE, and your COMPANY. Step 1 – Confidence in YOU Someone buying from you wants to be able to fundamentally connect with you on a human level and feel confident that you’re an expert in what you’re selling If you’re selling paperclips, be an expert in paperclips If you’re selling design and engineering related services, be an expert in design and engineering related services Focus on addressing the problem, not the solution….MEANING you already know you have the solution, connect with the buyer by being an expert with the problem he/she is facing. Prove that you know the problem and all aspects of the problem like the back of your hand. Step 2- Confidence in the PRODUCT/SERVICE you are selling Someone buying from you needs to trust the product/service you are selling will solve their problem. It’s your responsibility to deliver a solution and the benefits associated with it. Basically you need to “Hit a Homerun” communicating this message. Tip – Use Success Stories: Share with the potential buyer examples of your product/service solving problems and delivering value for